19 July 2011


Below you can see my favourite picture in the Dolphin History of Painting Volume 6: Far Eastern Art. This painting of Daruma, as the Japanese call Bodhidharma, was made by Soga Jasoku in the latter half of the fifteenth century. According to legend, once Daruma's eyes closed during meditation; in a fury, he ripped off his own eyelids. As he chose to ever see, Bodhidharma was an incredibly popular subject of Japanese Zen painting in the fifteenth century and afterwards.

On the subject of vision, here is a poem or saying from Bodhidharma:

A deluded mind is hell.

Without delusions,
the mind is the country of the Buddhas.

When the mind creates the idea of the mind,
people are deluded and in hell.

Those established on the path to Buddhahood
don’t use the mind to create the idea
of the mind and so are always
in the country of the Buddhas.

Courtesy Poetseers.

From my scant sources, I believe this painting was made at the Yotoku-in, a temple attached to the Daitoku-ji temple complex in Kyoto and is possibly still found in the temple.

Image via Wikipedia.

Chamecyparis obtusa or Japanese cypress is a robust wood with an even grain, making it highly valued in Japan. The use of hinoki, in Japanese, for constructing temples and other ceremonial buildings means that few old growth trees remain.

Further reading:

Biography of Bodhidharma at Poetseers

Bodhidharma at Wikipedia

Daitoku-ji Temple at Japan Guide

at Rinzai-Obaku Zen

Fuji Arts - Japanese prints for sale


Hazel said...

Wonderful information... i had never heard about it but it was sooo interesting. so many beautiful things stay hidden unless brought forward by explorers of knowledge.

internet is a diamond mine.

Hazel said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alf said...

That is a lovely thing to say. Thanks. Good luck with your new blogging adventure.